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Bay Laurel – (Laurus nobilis)

Bay Laurel Herb

The bay laurel is a small evergreen shrub that is native to the Mediterranean area. The shiny green leaves are leathery and aromatic. The bay is also known as Sweet Laurel, Roman Laurel, Wreath Laurel and Indian Bay. Used by the oracle of Delphi in divination rites, the bay has a long history with humankind. Laurel leaves were used to make garlands for festivals by the Romans and Greeks. The laurel was dear to the Greek gods Apollo and Aesculapius and was used in their worship.

Key Medicinal Uses

Internally – Bay infusion was often taken as a tea as a tonic by the Greeks and Romans. Today, it is recognized that the laurel aids digestion, and by including it in cooking this can help not only flavor the food but to digest it as well. It is said to help regulate blood sugar. It is also a very powerful antiseptic and was used extensively in days gone by during epidemics. It is antibacterial, full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal. It has the ability to relieve gas and bowel pain, as well as being beneficial for gastric ulcers.

Externally – Bay can be steeped into a solution to treat dandruff. Just use this tea to wash the hair, or use it as a rinse after normal shampooing. A poultice of boiled leaves can be rubbed into the chest and covered with a cloth to relieve the congestion of bronchitis. The leaf oil can be rubbed into sore joints for arthritis relief and to soothe muscle and tendon aches and sprains. This oil can be made by simmering bay leaves in olive oil over a low heat. Strain the oil and cool before use. Relief could be gained from bee stings by applying a plaster made of leaves. It is also used to treat scabies and bruises.

Other Uses – Bay is used frequently in the kitchen in soups and stews. It provides more depth of flavor to these dishes. The leaf is not eaten. It is also said to repel ants in the house.

Parts Used

Leaves – The bay laurel leaves are full of strong beneficial oil that is used as an oil, or steeped into a tea or decoction.


Bay laurel is not recommended for ingestion by pregnant or nursing women. Likewise it is contraindicated for people taking diabetes medicine.

Preparation and Dosage

If you are taking commercially prepared capsules in herbal remedies, take one capsule once or twice per day with water at mealtime.

Bay Laurel Herbal Remedies Top